I received my copy of The Buffalo Creek Disaster a few days ago. How much (if at all) does the initial curriculum use it? Should one take notes, or will a quick read-through suffice?
you're only going to use it during orientation as a conversation-starter by the professor who is running your group. in other words, you should read it if you want to look quasi-competent in front of your peers/in front of the professor, but that's the extent of it.
honestly, i went to the first two days of orientation and skipped the rest of it to put in some extra shifts at my part-time job. this is probably bad advice, but honestly, it's your final free days, the schedule is 9-5 & everything they do is clerical that you can sit & do in about an hour, yourself.
on the other hand, three of my closest friends at law school i met during orientation & it is definitely helpful in that way, but CUNY is so small everyone ends up knowing (maybe too much) about each other anyway. however, it's good the first few weeks to have people to eat lunch with & what have you, but other than that, it's pretty useless & some of the "advice" sessions feel patronizing. i mean, if i don't know by now how to monitor my facebook activity, then i probably shouldn't be in law school. (sorry, just trying to be brutally honest about my personal experience with orientation).
to get back to your question, reading the book is not important at all, but i would
read it because it is a helpful reference regarding jurisdictional issues that come up second semester in Civil Procedure and/or if you have no legal experience and want to get an idea of the progression of a case.
don't stress it. just read through it & you'll be fine.